Spa days make for a great Mother’s Day gift, bonding time with friends or even a bachelorette party excursion. They give you a break from the stress and chaos of regular life. Spas are usually serene environments with anything from Jacuzzis to meditation rooms to steam rooms and more. Their stillness gives you a moment alone with your thoughts and much-needed you-time. But, they’re not just about indulgence or luxury. Time at the spa can benefit your health. Research out of the Eastern Economic Journal found that regular time at the spa significantly reduces sick days and hospitalization. But, maybe the traditional Swedish massage or facial doesn’t do it for you. Luckily, there’s a lot more to the world of spa treatments. Here are wonderful and weird spa treatments to try if you’re looking for a new way to spoil yourself.
Chocolate Body Wrap
The experience: Eating chocolate is one way to treat yourself, but you can also smother yourself in this sweet treat. That’s just what happens during a chocolate body wrap, which might be the tastiest of weird spa treatments. This treatment involves being fully smothered in a mixture that includes a sea clay that’s high in minerals, combined with cocoa.
The benefits: The two ingredients work to remove toxins from the skin as well as soften it. Plus, research out of the Human Olfaction Laboratory at Middlesex University found that the scent of chocolate is uplifting.
The experience: Enzymes are typically used in facials and often derived from pineapple, papaya or pumpkin. During an enzyme facial, these special enzymes are placed on the skin and eat away at dead skin, leaving only new, healthy cells. The treatment also involves your esthetician using special hand movements to stimulate pressure points on the face, boosting circulation.
The benefits: The combination of the enzymes and the hand movements leave your skin looking bright and refreshed.
The experience: Alkaline therapy is based on the goal of neutralizing your pH levels – you don’t want levels to be too acidic or too low. Unbalanced pH is associated with inflammation and a slew of other health issues. It’s said that the devices we use daily, as well as the artificial lights to which we are exposed, release positive ions that throw off our pH balance. So in alkaline therapy, the body is exposed to high levels of negative ions that neutralize the positive ones, restoring balance in our bodies. The actual treatment involves having your body wrapped in what feels like a giant plastic bag, and your head placed inside a giant transparent helmet-like apparatus. Water-based negative ions are then pumped into the bag and helmet, helping eliminate acid from your body.
The benefits: Alkaline therapy is said to alleviate digestive issues, improve pigmentation, improve energy and fight cellulite.
Crystal Light Bed
The experience: Though the healing powers of crystals are highly debated, there are enough believers that now a full spa treatment exists based on the colorful stones. During crystal bed therapy, you lie on a bed with a large structure suspended over your head, along with a chromotherapy machine. Chromotherapy uses colors to improve one’s moods, and in crystal therapy, various crystals are used to filter different colored lights onto you, each one targeting a different energy center. In some cases, a sound bath or meditation might also be involved in this healing session.
The benefits: The treatment is said to release energetic blocks within the body.
The experience: The spa at the Ritz Carlton in New Orleans dips into the deep local tradition of Voodoo for this spa treatment. It combines the healing powers of a full body massage with a special, locally crafted herbal poultice (a soft, moist mass of material applied to the body) consisting of absinthe, cypress, moss and other intoxicating ingredients.
The benefits: The treatment is said to “cast a spell of relaxation and escape,” according to the Ritz Carlton’s spa menu.
The experience: Hammam treatments are rooted in the ancient Arabic tradition of bathhouses as they involve the use of water and steam. During a Hammam spa treatment, you will lie down in a warm room known as a Vichy room, wrapped in a Turkish blanket. A therapist will gently pour warm water over your body. After some time in the Vichy room, your therapist with give your body an exfoliating scrub and use targeted hand movements to boost circulation. Traditionally, eucalyptus-infused soap will be used to clean the body. Finally, you’ll rinse off and enjoy a scalp massage along with a hair wash.
The benefits: Hammam treatments are said to boost the immune system, increase blood flow and release toxins.
The experience: cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, involves exposure to extremely low temperatures for short periods of time. While it earns a spot on our list of weird spa treatments, doctors have long used cold therapy to treat a number of ailments, including warts. It has become increasingly popular in the spa environment. One of the most popular forms involves immersing the whole body in a cryotherapy booth for three to five minutes.
The benefits: Cryotherapy is said to relieve pain (the National Library of Medicine reports it can relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis), promote faster healing of injuries, promote weight loss, battle eczema and treat migraine headaches.
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